Contributors to this thread:
What Makes a Great Bowhunting Banquet
Hi Guys, as I'm sure many of you are, I am fairly involved in my local bowhunting chapter here in Manitoba. We had our banquet end of March. I am curious about many of you that attend these events - why do you go? What are your favourite parts of the night? We're always trying to improve ours here, and just curious what others are doing. What are some cool things you've seem at banquets?
One thing we did this year that was new that went over pretty well, is we had a game. It was fairly simple using nerf guns and head to head challenges. Each table sent up a shooter and it was head to head playoff style. Winner's table won 8 trail cameras for the table. Kind of got everyone involved as they cheer for their table. I'm already thinking of a different game for next year and think I have a good one.
I attend several a year and am also a banquet speaker so I get to see how others put theirs on in different places. One thing that's popular and engaging is to have enough donated goodies that a good number of people win something. Doesn't have to be big - pack of broadheads or a range pass, but it keeps the energy level up throughout the night.
The other thing is to choose your keynote speaker wisely. Some very famous bowhunters are absolutely awful speakers, droning in a monotone about their history or accomplishments. But they have the "big name". You want someone who is funny, outgoing, and engages the crowd.
At a P&Y banquet a couple years ago a VERY famous bowhunter was speaking and people were literally going to sleep. Nodding off. Within about 15 minutes people started filing out and the loud "party" was happening outside the ballroom in the courtyard. I felt bad for the guy, but he was somnambulent and had no business trying to be a speaker.
I go to see my friends and socialize with them. Vendors are nice but usually there are not enough that you would make the trip just to visit with them. What do I look for? Nice facilities. Good food at a reasonable cost. Interesting guest speaker. Avoid speakers that are controversial as you will piss off part of the crowd. Having raffle and auction items makes the evening more fun. Don't forget to have some stuff for the ladies so that they will want to attend.
Oh man, Jaq is right on the money.
Some very successful folks...but terrible speakers.
A good banquet has lots of prizes, Good looking gals all decked out selling the tix, liquor...and lots of it.
The mingling with other hunters should be promoted...its why most of us actually come...not to have a Nerf war...but talk to other hunters.
The droning on by chairpeople should be minimized....its great what they do... the good ones keep it very short. The folks that make these events about them...and their chance to be the big cheese in the spotlight just don't get it.
x2 Jaq. A little less appealing to the older crowd but one banquet I attended had tons and tons of stuff for the kids, so again most every kid left with something. I've also seen small scale games for a few bucks to win raffle tickets for rifles and larger ticket items. Most people I know attend banquets for the chance of leaving w/ something.
A great thing the CBA does is get some kegs of microbrew (and some crap beer too - Bud Light for the heathens) donated and some wine. Then they sell a commemorative glass for $20 that's bottomless for the two days. Nobody overindulged that I saw, but it was a really nice touch considering the price of "hotel beer".
I've only been to P&Y convention twice now, but my favorite part was the Bowsite Meet and Greet by far. . . . I'm not the greatest at meeting new people, and have a hard time just walking up to people and starting a conversation. The Meet and Greet makes it easier.
I can't wait until the next one. . .
Paul@thefort should chime in. We visited yesterday and he was a key banquet organizer for the above CBA banquet Lou referenced.
Paul said the CBA made a record amount of $$$ at the one held last month
x3 Lou, When a key note speaker is entertaining 20 minutes goes by quick, with a few good laughs.
My wife and I had a blast at last years Elk Banquet, enjoyed the food, met some great people we sat with, and came away with a few trinkets.
There were as many women as there were men, and women LIKE to spend money at these kinds of functions (first hand knowledge) so make they are included throughout the event.
As a banquet speaker myself for 30 plus years I find each state association seems to have its own personality. Some are very serious and reserved whereas others are wild parties. Brother Gene and I have done them together as well as separately. I think Gene tends to be more serious in his talks than I am, but he still adds humor to his message. But we both like to keep it both entertaining and educational. I tend to divide my talks. If I'm asked to lecture during the day I tend to keep the lectures more educational in nature where the attendee might learn a trick or two. Or at least get the attendees thinking on hunting tricks of the trade that may benefit them. But on after dinner talks where the room is generally filled with wives and kids I tend to keep the talk more light-hearted with much more humor and/or adventurous. The wives don't really care about the function of a whitetails tarsal gland. I try to keep it lively with true but comical stories everyone can relate to. Some of the best banquet speakers I've enjoyed were Monty Browning and Fred Eichler because they tell stories that envelop the audience while making fun of ourselves. Maybe a little premature but I just signed up as the banquet speaker for both South Dakota and Nebraska Bowhunters Associations in 2019, as well as ETAR at Denton Hill in late July 2018. If anyone plans to attend I'll see you there. bw
My buddies and I attend a couple every year and the biggest complaint we have is having way too long an auction. One banquet we go to has a very, very long auction and we must sit through it to see if any of us won a gun or bow. I just attended an RMEF banquet and they did the auction (with really great items) right after dinner, then opened up the games of chance for a little while, did the bigger raffles (again, with really good items), posted silent auction winners and finished with the bucket raffles (all great stuff and no Walmart clearance items). This was a great way to do it and no one left early that I saw. Good food is a must. My gang really appreciates the cause and we all spend money to that end, but having really good items of course makes it easier to spend money.
Barry, I took a tarsal gland to bed with me as recommended and it worked, thanks.
Back to the original question though, up here, with the crowd you drew this year, a speaker of notoriety would have filled a few more seats. In the past, a speaker from the government was a flop. To be honest, if not for having read on a guy's Facebook page, I would not have known when the banquet was. The new end of the display was spectacular and the idea of the log fence to keep hands off the mounts was a great idea. The huge screen with each qualifiers' field photo and a little history of each person, a sentence or so was a nice touch. Very nice prize draw table by the way. Chow line was crazy great too. You're on your way to bigger and better by asking out loud Adam.
Its never much fun when you see the majority of prizes go to one table. winning sstuff is great but winning stuff you will never use or will throw away isn't. for door prizes I like to be able to choose what I'm in for. Say everyone gets X number of tickets and you dump them in the box for a certain prize. If you really want something you can dump them all in on that one. Ive won a tremendous amount of cheap gun cases over the years.
Adam, I've been involved with our local chapters of DU and RMEF and I've learned a few things over the years about having successful banquets:
1. If you have a live auction keep it short. No one wants to sit through 40 items. 15-20 high quality items/hunts, especially hunts if you can get them. Unique items.
2. Silent auction, the bigger the better. The more items folks can bid on here keeps your live auction short and sweet and you're still making money. Lots of $75-$150 type items are good.
3. Raffle games and lots of them with high quality prizes like rifles/bows/prints, etc. Make the raffle games fun and interactive and make it feel like people are getting some value from their $$ for raffle tickets.
4. A bucket or general type raffle with a lot of small prizes, but make them quality items people will use. No 5 gallon bucket coolers, crap, etc. Again provide perceived value to your attendees.
5. Keep presenters/speakers, etc short. People want to come and have a good time with their buddies or spouses. They don't want to listen to people drone on.
6. Serve a good meal that is commensurate with what they spent for their meal ticket.
7. Alcohol, Alcohol, and more alcohol. Sad to say but this sure greases the skids and loosens the wallets. The bottomless pints a lot of groups are doing now are great ideas.
That's all I can come up with for now. One of the big keys is to have a group of guys behind your banquet that are personable, good with people, and like to have fun. It sure makes it a lot more fun for the attendees when the committee guys are fun to talk to and keep the environment light.
I go to 3-4 per year... It's a social outing for me where I get to see friends I haven't seen in a while. The bucket raffles annoy me. The most recent banquet I went to had a nice way of handling the monotony of calling out hundreds of tickets. They drew tickets during the live auction, printed out a list of winning numbers, then after the live auction they distributed them among the tables for people to check numbers and go claim prizes before leaving.
Our local chapter makes sure EVERY kid has a prize in the "forkhorn" raffle, with a handfull of "nice" prizes along with a couple dozen small prizes.
We split the big-ticket items into three basic categories. Live auction, silent auction and "game raffles". There will be about 6-8 games where you have a chance to win raffle tickets for the one or two big ticket items in that raffle. Games like plinko, nerf gun shooting(at a target), ect... The most popular is probably the bucket-package raffle. We will put together a package (bow, stand, arrows, call, scents) then put tickets in a five gallon pail with a cover over it. Each ticket costs the same, but they each have a number on them from 1-3, which is the number of raffle tickets you get to put in the drawing for the package. The person who buys the last ticket out of the pail gets a bonus prize(usually a $300 item) in addition to all the raffle tickets.
We also have a general raffle with donated goods from the community business owners. Locally here we have good support for that, and will have over 100 items ranging from $10 gift certificates to $300 items.
Oh yes, I hate when they draw for the junk and you have to listen for my name. It distracts me from BSing. posting them afterwards is good!
I was the banquet chairman several years for the United Bowhunters of CT. As stated above Good venue with good food and Lots and I mean Lots of raffle stuff. 8-10 guided hunts is always good for presentation but the ticket sales for those never were very high. We stayed away from auction type things and did everything by either ticket raffle or card game. Having your local environmental expert ( Fish & Game Cop) give a brief overview of issues is always good. We usually invite them and foot the bill. I was fortunate enough to have my daughter and her friends dressed appropriately walking the floor going table to table all night pushing raffle ticket sales. If you have a booth set up for sales you will not to as well. We were very fortunate to have a lot of talent donate some pretty cool things to raffle as well not just the store bought stuff. And don't forget to advertise for couple and the ladies. Make sure you have a special raffle just for the ladies stuff---You would be surprised how full the ticket buckets would get for that stuff----- Man I miss those day's!!!! Feel free to PM if you'd like--Kent
The CBA banquet last month Netted over $xx,xxx and this is the second highest income in 43 years of having the cBA banquet, here in Colorado. The banquet is primary an award banquet, awards to those who contributed so much of their time and effort for the success of the cBA over the last year and also prior years. The secondary goal of the banquet it to raise needed funds to support the CBA's mission and goals.
Success can be measured in a few ways. 1. Net income. 2, numbers and quality of silent and live auction items, card raffles, mannequin raffle 3. Quality of banquet meals. 4. Key Note speaker, 5, break out speakers. 6. Ladies Luncheon. 7. Kids Scene. 8. Vendor alley. 9. Ease of registration 10. A happy crowd. we had 310 at meal time. 11. great prizes for the kids. ALL OF THIS WAS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY AND WELL RECEIVED.
What started out the banquet, with a very positive act was having a local Boy Scout troop present the flag. We passed the donation bucket and collected $281 for their effort. Not only did the crowd have a deep feeling for the scouts but it got them reaching deep into their pockets early, for the later silent and live auction. We also sold beer and wine glasses for $20 each, (donated wine and beer) and make over $x,xxx. for that effort.
I began the banquet process, over a year before, gathered up a great cast of banquet volunteers, let them do what they do the best for each assignment and task, kept all on track and the process moving forward, and the end results were great.
my best, Paul
Thanks for the comments guys - and thanks for the kind comments Ron about this year's banquet. Ron had the largest typical whitetail by the way fellas ;) Gorgeous buck any man would dream all night about.
What kinds of numbers of people are you guys seeing at your banquets? In Manitoba here, I have been impressed we do get some people driving 4+ hours to get there, and yet even so getting 100-150 people has been average the last few years that I've been involved. We haven't had a keynote speaker the last couple years, travel costs would be big to bring someone in and we are operating on a shoestring budget. This means a speaker would be unknown, but I like the idea of getting resources in there.
We no longer charge for scoring heads, and essentially all our income is generated this one night. Our goal is simply to make enough money to keep operating and keep the provincial record books working. We provide a buffet meal, so with a ticket price if $60, we aren't making but a few bucks on ticket prices alone. We haven't really made any money recently at all, but my main concern is creating a better banquet and a good time, so that we can increase the numbers. Once we increase the numbers finances won't be a worry. Appreciate all the comments guys, keep em coming. We really want to focus on a good night for all that attend. Ya that sure would be awesome to have someone like the Wensels or Fred Eichler show up, but it would cost us half our revenue just to bring them in and send them home if they did it for nothing! lol. Started tracking numbers the past couple years and I've been impressed at what people have spent on a per person average.
At our post banquet meeting we decided one of our main goals was to work harder all year long to have more and better prizes, though I thought we did pretty good this year - more is always better!
Great question, Adam! I love the competition aspect you put into your banquet. Well done
Brotsky pretty much nailed the do's and don't(s) for banquets. Especially #1!
The speaker, like Lou touched on, must be engaging as well. Like others, I've been to a few where I wanted to fall asleep.
One other thing... the venue is paramount for retention. If it's a dump, people don't want to return. A well run banquet will win people over. Again, great question!
Barry- Why don't you come up to MT and speak at our convention in 2019 too? That way I can meet you and not confuse you with Gene like I did earlier. Gene was up here this year, I thought he did a great job.... I'm sure you two are always trying to one up each other. Gives you a chance to prove your the better half of that combo. Lets make it happen.
We have turned ours (New York Bowhunters) into a weekend event. We basically take over a golf resort and have a Friday night Bar B Que where we sit around and socialize. On Saturday we have a 3D course open, several archery games where everyone competes with the genesis bows from our kids camp, can raffle, games of chance ,annual meeting etc.On Saturday night we have the Banquet,awards, auction etc .. There’s also a group of wounded warriors turkey hunting at the resort that weekend and they come as guests to Banquet. There’s something for everyone all weekend including golf, fishing, tough Mudder type endurance course etc it’s really a family event and has been growing each year . This year our very own Pat from Bowsite will be our speaker.
SBH: It'd all depend on time/dates/schedules.
I heard it was a great turnout. Hopefully will be able to attend next year. Maybe for an award too. Lol.
I understand the reason for the OPs question. But the most important factor in a successful banquet is an informed, engaged, and committed membership. After all, the reason for the banquet is to support the goals of the organization, not to give out trinkets. Recognizing members for their efforts and successes, and the opportunity to catch up with folks I haven't seen in a while are why I attend.
Personally I hate the Buckets. @ PBS we get 150 tickets that 45-80 year old guys (for the most part) are having to tear apart and put in pails. Seems like something a 14yo would do. All to win something we would already have if we wanted/needed it. Then have to stand around and see who won, total cluster!